At the time of publication of this issue, we are incredulously, insecurely, and helplessly witnessing a situation only comparable to that experienced in both twentieth-century World Wars. A global pandemic, which has once again placed the human species before a scenario that is as unprecedented and unknown as it is unpredictable.
We need to rethink many aspects of our daily lives, of our values, of our economic and cultural practices; in short, of our coexistence with the rest of nature and, especially, of our respect for non-human animals.
In addition to protective isolation, enhanced medical capacity, safer sociality and health oriented economic stimulus, we will need to turn our hearts, hands, and minds to reweaving and strengthening the complex and vital social web.
The threat of infectious diseases has been constant in the history of humankind. 75 % of new emerging human infectious diseases in the last thirty years have an animal origin, and 17 % are transmitted by a vector.
Oases are what they are, but the desert around them makes us perceive them as lavish. We live in a universe of mental oases and we do not give things the value they have, but the value we would like them to have.
We are indeed in an emergency. Let there be no doubt about that. But if there is one thing that is even more paralysing than not accepting the situation we are in, it is saying that our house is on fire and then calmly keep watching television.
If we want science to play a truly relevant social role, we must take the opposite path and respond with science to the questions and problems of individuals and society. We must treat is as a tool, not as the protagonist.
Understanding what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom is an old obsession of ours. The most frequent attribute we rely on to justify our supposed superiority is intelligence. Yet, how are we to compare the intelligence of species as different as humans, octopi or dolphins?
But it is one thing to be aware of the annual astronomical cycle and another to discover the mechanisms of life. We don't know for sure what, but something happened about 40,000 years ago in what is now Europe.
Retraction is a compulsory literary genre: it is only written by one who has no other choice, and it does not pursue fame. Except for a few media cases, retractions go unnoticed by the public. What makes for hot news?
This monograph analyses the possibility of cultivating plants outside our planet Earth; presents advances in genome editing such as those that have allowed my laboratory to obtain seedless tomatoes; assesses strategies that should lead to more plentiful harvests using fewer resources; and explains biotechnological strategies to strengthen plants’ immune systems or to use them as biofactories in which we can harvest molecules of health or nutrition interest. Will that be enough? Will we make it in time?
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